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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 1: Cindy McCain looks on as a joint military service casket team carries the casket of the late Senator John McCain following his funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, September 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush delivered eulogies for McCain in front of the 2,500 invited guests. McCain will be buried on Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 1: Cindy McCain looks on as a joint military service casket team carries the casket of the late Senator John McCain following his funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, September 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush delivered eulogies for McCain in front of the 2,500 invited guests. McCain will be buried on Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. will brief the media on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 10 a.m. EDT, in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973).  DAILY SCHEDULE: Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. brief the media at 10 a.m. EDT in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973). Both U.S. and foreign journalists without a Pentagon building pass must be pre-registered in the new Pentagon Visitor Management System to attend this briefing; plan on being escorted from the River Entrance Pedestrian Bridge or the Pentagon Metro Entrance Facility only. Please arrive no later than 45 minutes before the briefing; have proof of affiliation and photo identification. Please call 703-697-5131 for any questions and escort into the building. The briefing will also be streamed live on www.defense.gov/live.  Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis hosts an enhanced honor cordon welcoming Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu of Indonesia, to the Pentagon at 2:30 p.m. EDT on the steps of the River Entrance. All journalists desiring to cover the cordon must obtain a wristband from security screening. Journalists without a Pentagon facility access card must go through security screening at the base of the River Entrance Pedestrian Bridge, and will be escorted to the cordon from there. Security screening will begin at approximately 1:45 p.m. EDT; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification. Journalists with a Pentagon facility access card, and whom have entered the building prior to 1:30 p.m. EDT, may go through security screening at the River Entrance to obtain their wristband. All journalists wishing to cover the honor cordon, including those with a Pentagon facility access card, must be in place no later than 2:15 p.m. EDT. Once security screening has been initiated at the base of the bridge, all journalists entering the building via the bridge for any reason, including those with a Pen
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For more on the late senator’s legacy, tune in to “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” Saturday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

(CNN) —  

Washington luminaries, former presidents and the family of John McCain gathered Saturday at Washington National Cathedral to honor and remember the late senator in a grand display of pomp and unity in the nation’s capital.

Amid praise for the life and legacy of McCain were frequent lamentations of Washington’s current political climate. The man implicitly referenced in those criticisms, President Donald Trump, was asked not to attend at the late senator’s request and instead visited one of his golf courses in Sterling, Virginia. He also tweeted on several occasions about unrelated topics, including trade negotiations with Canada.

Among the tributes – including from former McCain rivals and Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama – was an emotional remembrance from McCain’s daughter Meghan that included several pointed and unmistakable references to Trump.

“We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly,” McCain said in her remarks, during which she often struggled to fight back tears.

“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great,” she said at one point to sustained applause inside the cathedral.

Drawing a further contrast between her father and the current President, McCain said, “We live in an era where we knock down old American heroes for all their imperfections when no leader wants to admit to fault or failure. You were an exception and gave us an ideal to strive for.”

Bush, Obama remember formal rival

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Meghan McCain: A few resented my father's fire

Bush remembered McCain in his remarks as “above all, a man with a code,” saying that “he lived by a set of public virtues that brought strength and purpose to his life and to his country.”

The former President said that the late senator “was courageous” and “honest, no matter whom it offended,” adding that even “presidents were not spared.”

“Those in political power were not exempt. At various points throughout his long career, John confronted policies and practices that he believed were unworthy of his country. To the face of those in authority, John McCain would insist: We are better than this. America is better than this,” Bush said.

Obama said when McCain asked him to speak at the memorial service, he felt a mixture of “sadness” and “a certain surprise.” The request “captured some of John’s essential qualities,” including his “ability to see past differences in search of common ground,” Obama said.

The former President acknowledged the contrast between himself and McCain, saying, “We were standard-bearers of different American political traditions.” But Obama spoke of a deep respect for the late senator. “For all our differences, for all the times we sparred, I never tried to hide, and I think John came to understand, the longstanding admiration that I had for him.”

Obama also opened up about his behind-the-scenes relationship McCain and the bond they shared across party lines.

“We didn’t advertise it, but every so often over the course of my presidency, John would come over to the White House and we would just sit and talk in the Oval Office, just the two of us,” Obama said, saying they discussed policy, family and politics.

“Our disagreements didn’t go away during these private conversations,” he said. “But we enjoyed the time we shared away from the bright lights.” Obama added, “When all was said and done, we were on the same team.”

Display of unity

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The remarks from former Democratic and Republican presidents who were once rivals to McCain sent a message of unity and bipartisanship at a time when Washington is deeply divided.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said at the service that “the world will be lonelier without John McCain,” but that, “even in his parting, John has bestowed on us a much-needed moment of unity.”

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-Independent, recalled his friendship with McCain and spoke at length about how McCain had wanted to name him as a running mate during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Lieberman recalled questioning whether it could work. “When he first talked to me about it, I said, ‘You know John, I’m really honored, but I don’t see how you can do it,’” he said, remembering a conversation he had with McCain.

He said that the late senator responded with some impatience, saying: “That’s the point Joe … You’re a Democrat, I’m a Republican, we could give our country the bipartisan leadership it needs for a change.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election was not invited to any of the memorial services.

Notable attendees

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Other Washington leaders and longtime friends of McCain attended the service.

Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden, who delivered an emotional eulogy for McCain at a memorial service in Arizona on Thursday, served as a pallbearer on Saturday.

Actor Warren Beatty, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and former chief of staff to McCain Mark Salter also served as pallbearers, among others.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close friend of McCain’s, and McCain’s children Jimmy and Sidney McCain all took part in readings during the ceremony.

The President’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner both attended the ceremony. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, tweeted later in the afternoon that he and his son attended the ceremony, which he described as a “beautiful service.” Giuliani called McCain “a generous friend as well as a hero and patriot.”